Ryan Lochte

Katie Ledecky breaks world record; Phelps beats Lochte in Austin

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Katie Ledecky broke the 800m freestyle world record for the fourth time in as many years, clocking 8:06.68 in Austin, Texas, on Sunday night.

“I kind of knew from the start if I put together a good swim and swam it the right way that I could have a pretty good swim,” Ledecky, who exuberantly splashed in her lane after seeing her time, said on NBC Sports Live Extra. “Every race is different, every world record has some sort of meaning.”

Ledecky, 18, first lowered the 800m free world record of 8:14.10 set by Rebecca Adlington at the Beijing 2008 Olympics on Aug. 3, 2013, when she won the World Championship in 8:13.86.

Ledecky later broke the record on June 22, 2014 and on Aug. 8, when she repeated as World champion in 8:07.39.

Her world record Sunday marked the 11th in her career in a long-course meters event.

Ledecky, who won the 2012 Olympic 800m free as the youngest member of the U.S. delegation of more than 500 athletes, owns the 400m, 800m and 1500m free world records.

She is the reigning World champion in the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m frees.

In Rio, Ledecky could become the second U.S. woman to swim the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m frees at one Olympics, if she finishes in the top two in each event at the June/July Olympic trials in Omaha. The women’s 1500m free is not on the Olympic program.

Including relays, Ledecky could also challenge the records for most gold medals won by a woman at a single Olympics (six by East German swimmer Kristin Otto at Seoul 1988; the U.S. record is four by Missy Franklin and Amy Van Dyken).

Also in Austin, Ledecky set personal bests in the 100m and 200m freestyles and won the 400m free with the fifth-fastest time of all time.

“The 400 is my sweet spot,” Ledecky told media in Austin. “It’s probably what I train for the most, and then I’m able to go up and down from it.”

Earlier Sunday, Michael Phelps notched another first in his comeback, beating Ryan Lochte in a 200m IM final for the first time since the London Olympics. Full Austin meet results are here.

Phelps, who came out of a 20-month competitive retirement in April 2014, topped Lochte in the event by clocking 1:58.00 to his rival’s 1:58.43.

“I can look back throughout my career and say he’s probably the one who has really brought the most out of me,” Phelps told media in Austin. “I’ve had a lot of people that I’ve raced and, I guess I have a history with, but I think with Ryan it’s something special. We’ve been racing since 2004.”

Phelps and Lochte had competed in the 200m IM in four meets since Phelps’ comeback going into Austin — with Lochte clocking a faster time in every one of those meets.

The 200m IM is the staple of the Phelps-Lochte rivalry. Phelps has won the last three Olympic 200m IM titles, with Lochte joining him on the podium each time. Lochte has won the last four World titles.

Phelps swam the fastest time in the world in 2015 — 1:54.75 — at the U.S. Championships, after Lochte took the World Championship in 1:55.81, the second-fastest in the world in 2015, three days earlier.

Lochte is the world-record holder, thanks to his 1:54.00 at the 2011 World Championships.

Earlier Sunday, Franklin took second in the 100m backstroke behind Hungarian Katinka Hosszu, who won the 200m individual medley about 15 minutes later.

Franklin also finished sixth in the 100m free on Friday and third in the 200m free and 200m back on Saturday.

Olympic champion Matt Grevers prevailed in a 100m back final that included the three fastest U.S. men in the event in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Grevers prevailed in 53.35, followed by Ryan Murphy in 53.46 and David Plummer in 53.50.

That trio is expected to vie for two Olympic spots at the trials on June 28, possibly along with Olympic silver medalist Nick Thoman.

The Pro Swim Series continues March 3-5 in Orlando.

MORE SWIMMING: Ledecky looks like Olympic contender in 100m free

*Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated no U.S. woman has swum the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m freestyles at one Olympics.

Katie Ledecky, Ryan Lochte notch key wins in Austin

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Katie Ledecky and Ryan Lochte recorded statement victories, while Michael Phelps showed there’s at least one event he still must improve upon in his comeback at their opening meet of the Olympic year in Austin, Texas, on Saturday.

Ledecky outdueled Swede Sarah Sjöström in the 200m freestyle, in a matchup of the two Rio Olympic favorites in the event.

Ledecky clocked a personal-best 1 minute, 54.43 seconds, with Sjöström in second, 1.71 seconds behind. Missy Franklin was third (full results here).

“Good swim all-around,” Ledecky said on NBC Sports Live Extra. “I was happy with my 100 [freestyle personal best] and my 400 [freestyle win] yesterday and knew the 200 was right in the middle, been able to focus a little more on the shorter races this year. I think it’s paying off.”

Ledecky, 18, moved into fourth place all time in the event. The reigning World champion in the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles last lost a long-course meters final in any of those events on Jan. 18, 2014.

Sjöström, who beat Ledecky in the 100m free on Friday and won the 50m free later Saturday, had the world’s fastest 200m free time in 2015 but did not contest it at the World Championships last August.

Sjöström’s best time in 2015, 1:54.31, would have beaten Ledecky on Saturday, though.

Earlier Saturday, Lochte won the grueling 400m individual medley at a meet in an Olympic-sized pool for the first time since May 30, 2013.

In fact, it marked Lochte’s first win in a Pro Swim Series meet in an event other than the 200m individual medley since April 24, 2014.

Lochte, the reigning Olympic 400m IM champion, has rarely contested the event since the London Games but remained coy about whether he will race it June 26 at the Olympic trials.

“I don’t know,” he said on NBC Sports Live Extra. “It’s something that me and my coach, David Marsh, are going to talk about, but we’ll keep you guys on your toes.”

Lochte clocked 4:12.66 on Saturday, beating the fastest U.S. man from 2015, Chase Kalisz, by 1.98 seconds. Lochte’s time would have ranked No. 8 in the world and No. 4 in the U.S. for 2015.

Also Saturday, Phelps finished fourth in the 200m freestyle, which is no longer one of his primary events.

Phelps, fastest in the world in 2015 in the 100m and 200m butterflies and the 200m individual medley, ranked No. 18 in the U.S. in the 200m free in 2015.

Phelps could contend for a place on the 4x200m free relay team in Rio after being on that relay at the last three Olympics. But he will likely have to cut at least one second off his best time in the event since his comeback.

“I have to swim it more,” Phelps told media in Austin. “It was OK, but I’m just frustrated.”

Maya DiRado and Ryan Murphy, two swimmers in great position to make their first Olympic teams at trials, swept the 200m backstrokes Saturday. Franklin took third in the women’s 200m back.

Olympic 100m free champion Nathan Adrian easily took the 50m freestyle in 21.85 seconds. Adrian, the World 50m free silver medalist, won against a field that did not include reigning Olympic and World champion Florent Manaudou of France.

The meet concludes Sunday with finals at 7 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra.

MORE SWIMMING: Ledecky looks like Olympic contender in 100m free

Katie Ledecky looks like Olympic team contender in 100m freestyle

Katie Ledecky
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Katie Ledecky showed she’s a contender, arguably a favorite, to make the U.S. Olympic team in the 100m freestyle at her first meet of the year in Austin, Texas, on Friday.

Ledecky, the World champion in the 200m, 400m, 800m and non-Olympic 1500m frees, chopped eight tenths of a second off her personal best in the 100m free, an event she rarely swims at the top international level.

The 18-year-old clocked 53.75 seconds to finish second in the 100m free final in Austin, behind Swedish rival Sarah Sjöström (full Friday results here).

Sjöström won in 53.12, the fastest-ever in an American pool, and swam the fastest-ever 100m butterfly in an American pool 35 minutes later.

Ledecky won the 400m freestyle about 55 minutes after the 100m free, posting the fifth-fastest time ever in 3:59.54.

She outshined Michael Phelps (first in 100m butterfly, sixth in 100m freestyle), Missy Franklin (sixth in 100m free) and Ryan Lochte (fifth in 100m free and 100m butterfly) on the first of three nights of competition.

The Austin meet continues with finals Saturday and Sunday at 7 ET each night, streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra.

An Olympic 200m free duel between Ledecky and Sjöström has been anticipated since Ledecky won the World 200m free title in August, and Sjöström clocked a faster time leading off the 4x200m free relay. Sjöström opted out of the individual 200m free at Worlds.

Now, it looks like Ledecky may join Sjöström in the 100m free at the Rio Olympics.

One U.S. woman has swum the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m freestyles at one Olympics — Shirley Babashoff in 1976. Here’s more from Ledecky discussing the 100m freestyle from August.

Ledecky’s time Friday night would have won the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials 100m free (by .21 of a second) and ranked her No. 2 in the country in the event last year (.07 behind Missy Franklin).

At the very least, Ledecky solidified an argument to be part of the U.S. Olympic 4x100m free relay pool, which is usually six or seven swimmers combined across prelims and finals.

Keep in mind that swimmers train to peak during the summer, but most of the U.S. Olympic medal contenders are competing in Austin. The top two in each individual event at the June/July Olympic trials make the Olympic team.

In other events Friday, Phelps took the 100m butterfly in 51.94 seconds. That’s .47 of a second faster than his time at this meet four years ago.

U.S. Olympic champion Nathan Adrian took the men’s 100m free in 48.91, with Lochte in fifth and Phelps in sixth. All three were part of the 2012 U.S. Olympic 4x100m free relay final quartet and are relay contenders again this year.

Sjöström trounced Dana Vollmer by 1.23 seconds in the 100m butterfly final, clocking 56.38. It marked their first head-to-head since the 2013 World Championships.

Vollmer won the 2012 Olympic title and returned last season after a nearly two-year break that included having a baby. Sjöström won the 2013 and 2015 World titles. They are the only women to break 56 seconds in the event all time.

“I want her to know that I’m going to be there, and I’m going to be a challenge and she wasn’t just going to crush me,” Vollmer told media in Austin. “I didn’t feel like she just blew me away. I felt like I was there ’til the end.”

Vollmer’s time, 57.61, marked her best since 2013. It would have ranked second among Americans last year behind Kelsi Worrell, who is not competing in Austin.

Katie Meili, the fastest U.S. woman in the 100m breast last year, had the best 200m breast time Friday night despite being in a consolation final.

Meili clocked a personal-best 2:23.69, which would have ranked third among U.S. women in 2015 behind two-time World medalist Micah Lawrence and Laura Sogar. Meili was one second faster than Sogar on Friday and nearly five faster than Lawrence.

MORE: Phelps remembers frustration in return to Austin

*Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated no U.S. woman has swum the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m freestyles at one Olympics.